Building Stamina

I tried not to worry when daylight arrived Monday morning and Emma and Ronnie were nowhere to be found. FD and I both called out into the woodlands, hoping they would hear us and come running. After checking all of the usual spots we found them in this last weekend, we gave up. FD went on to work and asked me to text him if they showed up. So, after FD drove out, I donned a heavier jacket and took a quick walk along the buggy path and out a short way on the path to the pecan orchard, but I still did not see them. Finally, I headed back up the slope and into the house to finish cleaning up breakfast and get started with a few indoor tasks. Hopefully, I thought, the kids would show up at some point.

I love my big kitchen window in front of the sink. While I wash dishes, I am often entertained by squirrels and birds, and occasionally I see Ms. Foxy going to the canyon, on her way back from a hunting trip in town. But this morning as I began washing breakfast dishes, I was suddenly alarmed at seeing Emma running at top speed right past the window, heading east to the front of the house! My first thought was that something was chasing her. I looked to the west from where she had come up the slope, but I did not see anything. My second thought was, “Where was Ronnie?”. They were always together. So I ran to the back porch just in time to see Ronnie coming up the hill at a rather fast pace as well. I looked out in the canyon but saw nothing chasing them. I gazed off down the pecan orchard path and then back the other direction to our own woodlands – and there was Emma again! She came running through the woods, and then I saw Ronnie cut past the pool and dart down the slope trying to head her off. And suddenly, it hit me: Those two were not in any sort of danger – they were playing chase!

Realizing that “playing chase” was going on right before my eyes, I ran back into the house and collected my iPhone, just barely managing to get the last of their chasing recorded. Unfortunately, I missed getting the best of Ronnie’s performance of high leaps and jumps. And Emma was most eloquent at pivoting and turning, making it all look smooth and precise. But what made me extremely happy, was to know that, while this might just be a fun activity for the two of them, it was also helping to develop their agility and speed, two things that were important for building stamina and enhancing skills they would need in the wild. I was impressed with what I saw, and intrigued to hear Emma grunting while she searched for Ronnie after the chase. I had heard does grunt when calling their fawns to nurse, and I had heard bucks grunt loudly when in pursuit of a doe during the rut, but it surprised me that Emma would grunt to call Ronnie. And Emma’s call is very different from Daisy deer’s. I always called Daisy’s grunt a little “buzzing” noise, but Emma’s has a deeper pitch.

One thing I did manage to record, was the panting that followed when they came up to me after they had exhausted themselves. They gathered around me with bright eyes, open mouths, and tongues flailing as if to say, “Did you see us Mama? Did you see our jumps?” Mine were better than Ronnie’s. Did ya see us mom? Did ya? Huh? Huh? We ran really fast! Did ya see us?”

Finally, after much panting, followed by a few nibbles of greens and a big drink of water at the wildlife tub down below the slope, they both folded their legs and had a nice rest in the shade, right in front of the tub! Later that morning, they got up and followed me as I drove the electric buggy to the pecan orchard, where they did more exploring, grazing, and running and leaping while I worked gathering limbs and branches. I managed a few photographs of them on the move in the wide-open spaces of the orchard.

Ronnie_8481 Emma_8484 Emma and Ronnie_8497 Emma and Ronnie_8498 Emma_8499 Ronnie_8500 Ronnie and Emma_8502 Ronnie and Emma_8503 Emma and Ronnie_8505 Emma and Ronnie_8377 Emma and Ronnie_8378

When it was time to head back home at the end of the day, the two of them dragged along behind the buggy. In the bottom below our house, they stopped for water and to nibble on some clover for a bit. The next time I saw them, they were out in front of the house, nosing around in their deer pen and having a little alfalfa. And just before dark, FD noticed them bedded down in the pasture near the blackberry bushes. I was happy to know they returned home where they felt safe. And I was glad they took plenty of time to rest. After all, building good strength and stamina requires plenty of recuperation. And these two seem to know just what they need… so I need not worry, right?

Water Tub_1967 Ronnie and Emma_8397

I think Ronnie is making a cheesy grin here!
I think Ronnie is making a cheesy grin here!

© 2017 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


35 thoughts on “Building Stamina

  1. Oh my G-d, I was sick reading that first paragraph and felt so sad, the loneliness of them gone and wondering if anything happened, that void and THEN what a great turn of events with them playing!!! Phew. Your writing and photos brought them into my home and heart and I feel a special bond to their welfare. Glad today’s a good day. Yeah right on need not worry? You’re a mamma-that goes with the territory. Just allow yourself a lot of pleasant distraction. 🙂 ❤

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    1. To tell you the truth, Paulette, every morning I wake up hoping I will see them with my flashlight when I let the dogs out. Most of the time I don’t see them until about 8:30. Yesterday they got out close to that busy road that runs along the orchard. I worry about that! I know they will try to cross one day. Daisy did many times, and I got all sorts of reports from people who saw her cross. It’s all so scary – it’s not all about the coyotes. There are so many dangers I have no control over. Keeping distracted is about the only thing I can do.

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    1. Thank you, Ardys. I am forever learning about animals and instinct. I did a little research today on the anatomy of deer, and found their leg structure to be utterly amazing. And there is so much about how scent is so important, both detecting it and leaving it. I’m so happy that the early injuries Emma and Ronnie suffered in the pen did not seem to hurt their abilities to survive in the wild.

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  2. Lori, you’re posting too fast for me Can’t keep up. I’m not a deer you, know! 🙂 Loved, loved these photos and I really like the one where they are standing together. I hope they never stray too far but I know realistically that is not likely to happen. Do you not need to worry? Oh boy. If I were you, it would be impossible not to worry because you have been there mama all these months and how can you not be attached to them?

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    1. There is so much to write about, Yvonne. These two are keeping me buried in photographs and video! I’m afraid if I don’t post it pronto, it will just fall by the wayside. I did not get out with them much today as I had errands and business to take care of today. I do hope that by working in the pecan orchard on these warmer days, that I can wander around with them a little and will have more opportunities for video and photos. I know they’ll go further and further away to explore, so I need to take advantage of my time with them now.
      Don’t worry about always keeping up. I know you have a full plate!! 🙂

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  3. I’ve always enjoyed watching squirrels play chase, but it never had occurred to me that deer might do the same thing. Your photos are wonderful — you’re so skilled at capturing their spirit, as well as their antics. As for the worrying — well, it is part of the territory. One of the questions I’ve asked myself for years is, “Is this a problem, or a fact of life?” There are some things which are facts of life — which means there’s no solution! Learning to live with that truth isn’t always easy.

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    1. Oh, I really loved the way you approached that – “Is this a problem, or a fact of life?” That really makes it simple, doesn’t it? Releasing these two is maybe a bit easier than it was with Daisy. Remember how she and Holly (the injured yearling) ran off for several days and then returned, only to have Holly take off again and leave Daisy? I worried about Daisy every single day… all alone out there. Yet every time there was a hurdle or something new to tackle, she showed me she was able.
      Have you noticed the squirrels are becoming very active now? Spring is such a wonderful time in the woodlands. Lots of babies being born and a lot of antics going on! And food is plentiful! 😀

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    1. It was hard to watch them pacing in the pen, so releasing them was a relief. The stress is having no control over where they go now. There is the coyote problem, and a road nearby that is heavily traveled. Hopefully, good instinct will guide them. And yes, it’s very stressful not to be able to do a thing to protect them.

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  4. Big Sister, I completely enjoyed this post!! The videos of those two show just how “free” they feel, and how exciting it must be to run and jump and chase, especially with unlimited space. They are both so beautiful, and it warms my heart to see them doing what deer are intended to. You and FD have given them both an amazing start at life, one that they wouldn’t have otherwise had. My heart is smiling 🙂 !!!

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    1. Aw, what a lovely thing to say, Jules. Thank you for listening to my fretting and worrying about everything during this last eight months. You’ve always been encouraging and empathetic. You also know what a joy that all of our critters have been to us. I sometimes wish I had a set of those slender, springy deer legs. Think of the fun we could have and how fast we could get around?? 😀

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  5. Hi Lori, It was heart warming to read your posts about how Ronnie and Emma are getting on now they have been released. If they hang around for a while, there will be plenty of entertainment in addition to the activities of the other woodland creatures.
    I hope you start seeing more of the local deer returning to your woodland soon. I think it would be very concerning for the viability of the local deer population if there are more seasons when no fawns survive more than the first few months. The natural balance between predators and prey animals is clearly out of kilter. Matters are not helped by a irresponsible hunter discarding bits of deer on the ground which is attracting additional predators to your area. This must be very disheartening given your vision of the pecan orchard being a place of sanctuary for local wildlife.

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    1. We have seen a few deer trickle in, mostly young bucks that head to the feeders. I believe since the rutting season is at its end, and spring has not yet come full-swing, the bucks are looking for good nutrition to replenish their bodies. We have spotted a few does on the game cameras on the west end of the property – nearer the river, so that is also a good sign that deer are returning to the area. I do hope that I see Daisy one of these days.
      It will probably take visiting with the neighbor in question, to confront the issue of discarding body parts on our property. I found an armadillo body in that same area just yesterday. Armadillos and other small mammals are often killed by townspeople as they’re considered varmints. Until we can stop the slaughter and dumping in that particular area, I’m afraid we will continue to battle the coyotes. 😦

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    1. Oh, thank you, Dale!! I got tickled at the panting of the deer. They sound and look like dogs after a good run! ha ha! I think both the audio and visual give the reader a tremendous sense of how it feels to be a part of such an amazing relationship with wildlife.

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    1. Ha ha! Can you imagine children running that fast? Ha ha. They certainly are beautiful and very entertaining. Every day though, we see them becoming more independent. I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep up with the camera if they venture off too far. 🙂

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  6. “Did you see us mom?” – Had to laugh because that’s it exactly. Just a delight to see them and to see them being deer.
    That grassy slope so looks like my dad’s backyard at his last house. It backed up to a wooded creek and deer would often come and cavort across the grass…and nibble his garden – which he didn’t seem to really bother him. Sitting on the back [porch and watching the deer was produce enough
    Glad they are doing so well

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    1. Ha ha! I think your dad would agree such a place is a little slice of heaven. I do have fencing around my big garden, but the herb and greens bed is free for all to graze on. My mother-in-law is abhorred that I pick greens from the same patch the deer nibble at. There is plenty for everyone, and deer are quite smart. They never nibble it down to nothing. They always leave the center where more new shoots rise from. I do not know how they know that but they’re quite resourceful!

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      1. Unlike sheep/goats that eat the whole darn plant and leave you with bare ground…thus the range wars HA HA
        (Don’t tell her bugs walk around her lettuce in the fields before it gets to her table. Go deer, Go! All us mammals love a bite of greens!)

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        1. Remember last summer when the neighbors nine pit mix dogs came running through our yard peeing on everything? My mother-in-law quit picking from my lettuce patch after that, but I wondered why she didn’t consider that they probably watered her garden plants too! Ha ha!

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